Gabby Petito’s family files claim alleging police failed her

The notice of claim contends police in the tourist town of Moab missed signs that Petito was the victim of domestic violence at the hands of Brian Laundrie on Aug. 12, 2021
FILE- In this image taken from police body camera video provided by the Moab Police Department,...
FILE- In this image taken from police body camera video provided by the Moab Police Department, Gabrielle "Gabby" Petito talks to a police officer after police pulled over the van she was traveling in with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, near the entrance to Arches National Park on Aug. 12, 2021.(The Moab Police Department via AP, File)(Associated Press)
Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 3:21 PM EDT
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Gabby Petito’s family has notified Utah officials that they plan to file a wrongful death lawsuit alleging police failed to recognize she was in a life-threatening situation last year when they investigated a fight between her and her boyfriend. The fight happened weeks before authorities say he killed her while the couple was on a cross-country van trip.

The notice of claim says police in the Utah tourist town of Moab missed signs Petito was the victim of domestic violence at the hands of Brian Laundrie in August of 2021. The officers ultimately allowed the couple to leave after requiring them to spend a night apart.

Notices of claims are required before people can sue government entities and the family’s claim said that the lawsuit will seek $50 million in damages. Moab officials have 60 days to respond before the family can file a lawsuit based on the claim.

Police body cam video widely viewed as the investigation unfolded last year showed Petito, 22, visibly upset and raised questions about whether a different police response could have prevented her death. Appearing by video at a news conference to announce the claim, Petito’s mother, Nicole Schmidt, said “watching it is very painful.”

Moab officials declined to comment about the notice of claim, saying the city does not comment on pending litigation.

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